Published on January 24th, 2020
Panga is inspired from the life of a national level Kabbadi player from India. It follows her triumphs, struggle and overcoming of stereotypes and reflecting upon the importance of love and family support in order to become successful.
The film tells the story of a retired national-level Kabaddi player Jaya Nigam (Kangana) who plans to make a comeback in the sport at 32 while balancing her personal life. Richa plays Jaya’s oldest friend and former teammate, Meenu who helps guide her.
Movie Reviews: ‘Panga‘
The rules of entertainment are altering rapidly because Hindi movie heroine is now being looked up with strengths, shortcomings, mistakes and achievements. She is ready to conduct experiments, equipped to explore uncharted lands. This holds for Kangana Ranaut, one of the most talented actresses of our time. The famous actress has persistently paved the way vis-a-vis her choice of movies.
It is absolutely amazing to experience how camera movement (Jay I. Patel), editing (Ballu Saluja), music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) and other technical aspects of Panga blend together to form a cinematic experience that, in terms of quality, rises to a level where the entertainment value is of an entirely exceptional character.
In terms of action, Panga is fantastic storytelling, where the story writers (Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Nikhil Mehrotra) have managed to convey a story through the visual media to an unparalleled degree and turned it into a gripping, captivating, educational and uplifting and one of a kind experience.
The admiration for Kangana Ranaut has scaled woozy altitudes and let me affirm, the supremely talented actress delivers a performance that’s at par with her former accomplishments. She re-evaluates screen acting in Panga. She arrives with yet another enlivening, commanding character in this film and her portrayal is sure to win laurels by assessors and cine-goers uniformly.
Her body language, her confidence, her vulnerability, her fury, her grief, all fall upon wonderfully. Jassie Gill is a revelation. What a tremendous actor. His sequences with Kangana are truly wonderful. Neena Gupta proves yet again that she’s an exceptional performer. She makes a stunning impact. Richa Chadha is, as always, efficient.
She exhibits good screen presence and holds her ground firmly, despite Kangana’s towering performance. She is exactly what the highly ranked coaches are made up of. Yagya Bhasin stands out with a terrific portrayal. He’s is exceptional. Way to go, boy! Megha Burman shines as the young Kabbadi player.
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s easy-going, empathetic film centres on a kabaddi player who, years after giving up the sport for her family, decides to play again. For such an unhurried film, Panga has a bracingly violent start. All of Bhopal is sleeping, except for Prashant (Jassie Gill), who’s getting kicked by his wife, Jaya (Kangana Ranaut), in bed.
These aren’t light kicks either. Ranaut isn’t an actor given to half-measures and I’d wager Gill left the set that day with more than a few bruises. In Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s first film, 2016’s Nil Battey Sannata, a working mother joins her daughter’s school so she can first learn and then tutor her in math.
Panga, too, has a mother risking embarrassment for her child: once the boy learns that Jaya left kabaddi for him, he badgers his father to persuade her to make a comeback. In a montage scored with an Annu Kapoor comic number, Jaya starts training again, with the intention of giving up in a month. But when the time comes, she can’t. She left kabaddi, but kabaddi never left her.
For a sports film, this is a timely idea to be grappling with (Sultan, in 2016, also dealt with it). There are more prominent Indian women athletes today than perhaps ever before, and some like Mary Kom and Sania Mirza have returned to their sports after becoming parents.
But in a more general sense, the film is an empathetic look at the social cost of continuing with one’s life after marriage and children. That Jaya should consider herself lucky – that she actually is lucky, as she’s told by several women – to get to do the thing she’s good at, is one of the more poignant reiterations of this film.
The role fits Kangana Ranaut to absolute perfection and there isn’t a single false note in her performance. The intelligently scripted, deftly directed and well-acted sports drama is peopled by characters who are easy to relate to.
Unlike average Bollywood films of the genre, Panga does not ever strain credulity even when one might feel that it could have done with a little more momentum. The deliberate pacing ultimately does no harm. It, in fact, keeps the audience from taking their eyes off the crux of the tale.
The film steers clear of overt melodrama and weaves the story of a mother making a comeback to a physically exacting game around tangible struggles stemming from her professional and personal responsibilities. Sensitive and riveting at once, Panga is a not-to-be-missed gem.